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Thread: Scanners

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    5 Star Lounger
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    Scanners

    No not the film!!

    Good morning

    The Company I work for produces airway bills with the unique airway bill number being printed in barcode format, the scanners I currently have work fine if I scan the top copy, however when we are collecting goods the top copy must stay with the Customer and when the drivers return to the warehouse the scanners will not scan the 2nd or subsequent barcodes, does anybody know of a scanner that would work in this scenario.

    Cheers

    Steve
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    Steve

    Asking the questions everbody wants the answers too but feels too stupid to ask themselves :-)

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Scanners

    Are you talking specifically about barcode scanners, or everyday scanners?

    If the former, what is the problem with subsequent copies? Are they just not a clear print?

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    Re: Scanners

    Hi Leif

    Sorry, barcode scanners, our awb's are 7 part NCR printed on a Dot matrix printer and whilst the second and subsequnt copies don't look to terrible to me our scanner here will just not pick it up, I guess I could tak copy 2 to the local supermarket and ask a friendly checkout (non gender specific) person to scan it and see what happens on their machine <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Scanners

    I wondered if you were going to say NCR! <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

    Dunno, is the answer. I would suspect Tesco will not be much help unless your barcode matches one of theirs in the first place - I'd just be careful WHAT you put in as a sample barcode <img src=/S/laugh.gif border=0 alt=laugh width=15 height=15>

    It's got to be down to the definition of copies 2 and 3. Can you experiment with a larger image? The other thing that may be making an impact is if the contrast is not great - i.e. copies 2 and 3 are pink and green, with the original white. I notice DHL and TNT AWB's have a very pale box where their barcode is on all copies. Alternatively, is it worth taking their example and - using mickey-mouse logic - you start off with the barcode, clearly pre-printed on all copies, and use that number rather than creating a fresh one each time?

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    Re: Scanners

    You have already made one important finding, that is, that the human visual system is many times more sensitive in reading low contrast barcodes than barcode scanners. That is just the way it is. Three things that may help (thought they may be out of your control): Have all copies on white paper if you do not have that already. If your scanner uses infra red light try one that uses visible red. Finally, and this relates to the last comment, see if you can change the ink that your dot matrix printer uses. Many dot matrix printer inks are fairly transparent in the infra red so see if you can find a carbon-based ink instead.

    If you make a copy on an office copier (an electrophotographic copier) can you then the scan the code?

    Paul

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Scanners

    >> ...see if you can change the ink that your dot matrix printer uses.

    I don't think that would have much effect on secondary copies when using NCR paper!

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    Re: Scanners

    What exactly is NCR paper? I probably should know this <img src=/S/stupidme.gif border=0 alt=stupidme width=30 height=30>

    Paul

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    Plutonium Lounger Leif's Avatar
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    Re: Scanners

    No Carbon Required... <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15>

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    Re: Scanners

    Ah! Well then that's exactly the problem <img src=/S/exclamation.gif border=0 alt=exclamation width=15 height=15> . Carbon is required for good absorption of the light.

    Ok, so this is an impact printer smashing 7 layers of carbonless paper at once so you are right on in saying that changing the ink will have no effect. God only knows what dyes are used in that kind of paper, and I am not sure I would want it on my hands, but most likely it would absorb better in the red than the infrared. Seems like this would be a problem for a lot of businesses.

    Trying to make a carbon-based photocopy as I mentioned previously (if that's practical in his environment ) is a possible short term fix.

    Paul

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    Re: Scanners

    It's really NCRNCR.

    National Cash Register, No Carbon Required. <img src=/S/grin.gif border=0 alt=grin width=15 height=15> <img src=/S/thinks.gif border=0 alt=thinks width=15 height=15>
    BOB
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    Re: Scanners

    Thanks Paul and leif

    Many of my suspicions confirmed in your posts, I have been advocating the use of Laser awbs but the company wants signatures etc to go through all copies hence the NCR paper. Will try out some of the suggestions and report back

    Cheers

    Steve
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    Re: Scanners

    >The Company I work for produces airway bills with the unique airway bill number being printed in barcode format
    A non-scanning solution.
    Since your company controls the data, you must have (somewhere) a file that has a record of all outstanding waybills.
    Instead of scanning the seventh copy, consider using the human eye to read the last (say) four digits of the waybill number and type these four digits on the keyboard.
    Match those four digits to the outstanding waybills and present the operator with a choice of the one or two which match. Confirm, and you're done.

    My local library uses a similar scheme with books on hold. I drop into my branch and find my books by looking for "0667", which are the last four digits of my 20-character library card identifier. FWIW they require, at times, only the last four digits of my telephone number to confirm identification.

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    Re: Scanners

    Hi Chris

    Thanks for your input but it is the human intervention that I am trying to remove because of input errors

    Cheers

    Steve
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    Asking the questions everbody wants the answers too but feels too stupid to ask themselves :-)

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    Re: Scanners

    If I broaden the suggestion given by Chris, I think there are probably a number of approaches different from your current one that might be implemented. One that I think might be a very interesting little project is to use a two dimensional barcode( like DataMatrix or Q Code) in conjunction with a simple cell phone camera to read it. The cell phone captures the image and decodes it to, say the url of the file containing all the data for the package, and automatically takes you there. People are doing in in one form or another already. This approach has much better signal to noise capability and can work with only 20% contrast and allows for rips and tears in the code image. Check out http://semacode.com/ .

    Paul
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